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  1. During the last few decades, the interest over chalcopyrite and related photovoltaics has been growing due the outstanding structural and electrical properties of the thin-film Cu(In,Ga)Se2 photoabsorber. More recently, thin film deposition through solution processing has gained increasing attention from the industry, due to the potential low-cost and high-throughput production. To this end, the elimination of the selenization procedure in the synthesis of Cu(In,Ga)Se2 nanoparticles with following dispersion into ink formulations for printing/coating deposition processes are of high relevance. However, most of the reported syntheses procedures give access to tetragonal chalcopyrite Cu(In,Ga)Se2 nanoparticles, whereas methods to obtain other structures are scarce. Herein, we report a large-scale synthesis of high-quality Cu(In,Ga)Se2 nanoparticles with wurtzite hexagonal structure, with sizes of 10–70 nm, wide absorption in visible to near-infrared regions, and [Cu]/[In + Ga] ≈ 0.8 and [Ga]/[Ga + In] ≈ 0.3 metal ratios. The inclusion of the synthesized NPs into a water-based ink formulation for screen printing deposition results in thin films with homogenous thickness of ≈4.5 µm, paving the way towards environmentally friendly roll-to-roll production of photovoltaic systems.
  2. The unconventional clathrates, Cs 8 Zn 18 Sb 28 and Cs 8 Cd 18 Sb 28 , were synthesized and reinvestigated. These clathrates exhibit unique and extensive superstructural ordering of the clathrate-I structure that was not initially reported. Cs 8 Cd 18 Sb 28 orders in the Ia 3̄ d space group (no. 230) with 8 times larger volume of the unit cell in which most framework atoms segregate into distinct Cd and Sb sites. The structure of Cs 8 Zn 18 Sb 28 is much more complicated, with an 18-fold increase of unit cell volume accompanied by significant reduction of symmetry down to P 2 (no. 3) monoclinic space group. This structure was revealed by a combination of synchrotron X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy techniques. A full solid solution, Cs 8 Zn 18−x Cd x Sb 28 , was also synthesized and characterized. These compounds follow Vegard's law in regard to their primitive unit cell sizes and melting points. Variable temperature in situ synchrotron powder X-ray diffraction was used to study the formation and melting of Cs 8 Zn 18 Sb 28 . Due to the heavy elements comprising clathrate framework and the complex structural ordering, the synthesized clathratesmore »exhibit ultralow thermal conductivities, all under 0.8 W m −1 K −1 at room temperature. Cs 8 Zn 9 Cd 9 Sb 28 and Cs 8 Zn 4.5 Cd 13.5 Sb 28 both have total thermal conductivities of 0.49 W m −1 K −1 at room temperature, among the lowest reported for any clathrate. Cs 8 Zn 18 Sb 28 has typical p-type semiconducting charge transport properties, while the remaining clathrates show unusual n–p transitions or sharp increases of thermopower at low temperatures. Estimations of the bandgaps as activation energy for resistivity dependences show an anomalous widening and then shrinking of the bandgap with increasing Cd-content.« less